Australian Foreign Minister Faces August Heart Surgery

Posted July 20th, 2011 at 6:05 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will undergo surgery next month to replace a weakened heart valve.

Mr. Rudd made the announcement Wednesday in Brisbane, shortly before departing on a diplomatic mission to Indonesia and Africa. The foreign minister told reporters he will undergo the procedure around August 1 in either Brisbane or Sydney.

Mr. Rudd had surgery in 1993 to replace the aortic valve in his heart, which was damaged as a result of rheumatic fever, which he suffered as a child. He says his doctors have told him the replacement valve is wearing out.

The aortic valve pumps oxygen-rich blood into the aorta, the largest artery in the body, which then pumps it to rest of the body.

Mr. Rudd says it will take him about eight weeks to recuperate from the operation, but his doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

Mr. Rudd was elected prime minister in 2007, but was ousted from the post last year in a Labor Party coup led by Julia Gillard, the current prime minister.